How do I choose a first-year writing course?

Q. How do I choose a first-year writing course?

A. You should enroll in a first-year writing course based on your past experiences with writing and your abilities as a writer. Enrolling in the most appropriate course is key since this course will help you strengthen your writing skills and succeed in your other college courses. The options from which you can choose appear below:

ENGL 015: Rhetoric and Composition (3 credits)
This required course provides instruction and practice in writing expository prose that shows sensitivity to audience and purpose.  It fulfills one of three GWS requirements for General Education, and students must earn a grade of C or better in this course for the course credit to fulfill a GWS General Education requirement.  Students write approximately twenty to twenty-five pages of polished prose, they have numerous low-stakes writing assignments, and they incorporate research they conduct into their writing.  All activities in the course help students achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • Students will develop rhetorical knowledge.
  • Students will develop critical thinking skills.
  • Students will develop their composing processes and engage with resources that support those processes.
  • Students will develop knowledge of communication conventions in multiple genres for different discourse communities.

ENGL 030: Honors Freshman Composition (3 credits)
This course provides writing practice for specially qualified and screened students. Your advisor will tell you if you are eligible to enroll in English 030. The course can replace the required English 015 to fulfill a GWS requirement for General Education. Students must earn a grade of C or better in this course.

ENGL 005: The Writing Tutorial (1 credit)
This optional course is taken concurrently with English 015.  It involves one-to-one writing consultations with a faculty member, and it’s designed to help every writer regardless of skill level because all writers benefit from personalized attention to their writing.  This course is useful for you to take if you feel a little nervous about taking English 015.  By taking this course, you get…

  • Lots of personal attention in the form of six one-to-one consultations with a faculty writing consultant who will help you improve your writing process and complete your English 015 assignments.  You’ll schedule your meetings with this faculty member during the first week of classes based on your and your consultant’s availability.
  • A greater chance of success.  English 005 is graded based on attendance, preparation, and participation, not on the quality of writing you bring to consultations. As long as you show up to scheduled meetings to work on your writing, you should earn a good grade.  Also, extra help will likely help you to do better in English 015.

Note that the one credit of English 005 does NOT satisfy the basic minimum requirements for graduation in any baccalaureate degree program and it may not be eligible for certain forms of financial aid.  Please contact the financial aid office for details.